Team GB will depart for Marseille on Sunday with high hopes of claiming an unprecedented third-successive European Maccabi Football Trophy.
Boasting an exciting squad that blends youth with experience, managers Phil Peters and Jamie Slavin are excited about the challenge ahead.
A 2-2 draw with Oakwood a fortnight ago was followed-up by a 7-4 thrashing of Premier Division North London Raiders B with Norstar’s Josh Green the best of the bunch hitting a stunning hatrick to add to his equalising goal in the previous game.
The boys were in good spirit at their final training session last night. SPEC hardman Ricky Lawrence was said to be “excited” whilst Brady’s Jordan Grant will put cup-final disappointment behind him and can’t wait to unleash his ‘keep calm stay dench’ top under his kit when he scores.
EMFT veteran Jeff Gotch told the media, “After experiencing the EMFT 2010 in Spain where we bought home the gold I was very excited to be given the opportunity to defend the crown in France. After leading the team in the two friendlies we have had I am confident we can do exactly what we want and bring it home. The competitiveness and nature of the trip is a great experience for everyone and it really will be a memorable trip.”
Peters and Slavin are optimistic but are feeling the weight of expectation on their shoulders, “After a magnificent victory in Torremolinos we go in to this tournament as favourites but we can’t get complacent. The Germans are going to be stronger than they were last time and the French will be an unknown quantity but filled with talent.
“Our sponsor Adam Nathan Catering has promised to provide to nourish us if we bring back the trophy. We expect the boys to be fighting not just for , not just for themselves but for GB.”
The tournament commences on Monday 30th April with two fixtures and a final group game will be played on Tuesday morning. Stay up-to-date with the goings on in France via the Maccabi GB website, the Jewish press and on twitter #EMFT2012
Squad: 1. Jake Doffman, 2. Ben Sheldon, 3. Dan Tannenbaum, 4. Ricky Lawrence, 5. Lewis Blitz (c), 6. Jeff Gotch (vc), 7. Jordan Grant, 8. Jonny Kay, 9. Eli Houri, 11. Rob Blackman, 12. Michael Israel, 14. Josh Green, 15. Ben Weinberg, 17. Anthony Goodmaker, 18. James Gold, 19. Jerome Marks. Management: Phil Peters, Jamie Slavin
Sunday 22nd April - Team GB 7-4 North London Raiders B
Team GB strolled to an impressive victory over North London Raiders B at the Ark Academy in their final warm-up match before next week's European Maccabi Football Trophy in Marseille.
An explosive start saw the GB boys 3-0 up within fifteen minutes with quality finishes from Josh Green, Jonny Kay and Ash Burns the latter of whom showed the management exactly what they're going to miss due to his late pull-out from the squad.
Raiders hit back with two goals before half time with GB futsal starlet Jamie Wolfson finding plenty of space out wide to first provide for David Dinkin and then get one for himself.
But it was the second half where the Maccabi boys really came into their own with Josh Green completing his hatrick before goals from EMFT 2010 star Adam Posner and a bullet-header from Burns put the boys 7-2 up.
Nick Wolff scored a penalty before Dinkin restored some credibility to the scoreline but with several players to come back into the side, the signs are very promising ahead of the tournament.
Manager Phil Peters was pleased with the display, “To score 7 goals against a team filled with some of the Premier Division's finest was obviously very pleasing but the way we're coming together as a unit is equally important.
“I also wanted to say thank you to everyone who bought drinks and snacks at slightly inflated prices at Wingate yesterday - every penny is going towards our preparations for Marseille and we'll do everything in our power to repay the fans with gold medals and the trophy!”